It was a successful debut for new Bison football coach Brandon Barbaree.
Carlisle jumped out to a 22-0 lead then held off a game McCrory team for a 46-20 win in the season opener Friday at Fred C. Hardke Field.
"We needed a game where we had to play our starters for four quarters," said Barbaree, who took over for Scott Waymire in the spring. "It’s sometimes tough to get to the game experience you need to compete. We played a lot of players who haven’t played in high school football games before."
The Bison took the opening possession and drove 69 yards in only four plays with Deron Ricks scoring on a 47-yard run with 10:23 left in the first half. Bo Weddle scored the two-point conversion.
After forcing a McCrory punt, the Bison took a 16-0 lead when Weddle, who missed most of the 2012 season with an ACL injury, scored on a 44-yard run with 8:13 left in the first quarter. Austin Reed then threw to twin brother Braden Reed for the two-point conversion.
The teams traded possessions before Carlisle’s Justice Bryant broke away for a 64-yard touchdown run with 11:38 left in the first half, giving the Bison a 22-0 lead.
"I thought we started off crisply," Barbaree said. "Offensively, we were moving bodies, then all of a sudden … they had speed on defense and moved well.
"When they started submarining our offensive linemen, it got us out of rhythm a little bit. We got back into it a little bit in the third quarter. I thought we did well offensively, as far as moving people."
McCrory got on the board when Cade Campbell scored on a 1-yard run with 5:25 left in the first half, cutting the Bison’s lead to 22-6.
Carlisle scored right before halftime when Austin Reed threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Braden Reed. Deron Ricks added the two-point conversion to give Carlisle a 30-6 halftime advantage.
Both teams scored two touchdowns in the second half. McCrory’s Drake Files scored on a 6-yard run with 4:57 left in the third quarter. Ricks returned the favor, scoring on an 11-yard run with 45 seconds left in the third quarter. Austin Reed then threw to Weddle for the two-point conversion, pushing the Bison’s lead to 38-12.
The Jaguars final score came on a 23-yard pass from Campbell to Dalton Williams with 10:44 left. Carlisle’s final score came on a 26-yard run by Weddle with 6:53 left. Austin Reed added the two-point conversion.
"Obviously, we got tired but that usually happens in the first game," Barbaree said.
Defensively, Barbaree said there were three players who had never started a game up front before.
"As the game went on, you could see them start to figure it out," he said. "We weren’t giving up the big play. We made them drive, which is what we want them to do. If they are going to do it, they are going to have to do it for a long time. Our kids kept fighting and got better as the game went on."
The Bison finished with 356 yards rushing. Weddle had 155 yards on 16 carries. Ricks had 94 yards on 14 carries. Bryant had 87 yards on seven carries.
Austin Reed completed 4 of 5 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown. Braden Reed caught three passes for 86 yards.
The Jaguars finished with 160 yards rushing and 69 yards passing.
Ricks led the Bison with 15 tackles.
Carlisle goes on the road this Friday at Mountain Pine. The Red Devils lost to Jessvieville 58-12 in the season opener Friday.
"They are young with low numbers," Barbaree said of this week’s opponent. "Coach [Joel] Frazier does a great job. He’s just fighting the numbers game right now. I think he’s got 17 kids out. They had a rough game with Jessieville last week. But they will be tough, hard-nosed kids. I just don’t know if they have the bodies to match up with us for four quarters. I think they will compete early against us."